Ask any local banker how they are managing the current economic crisis, and you will most likely hear the same thing: it’s like building a plane while flying it.
On March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law to help individuals and small businesses financially during the pandemic.
Included in the CARES Act is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to specifically support employees. Overseen by the Small Business Administration, the government allocated $349 billion in forgivable loans that were distributed amongst small businesses nationwide based on payroll and business costs (e.g., rent).
The loan can be forgiven if employers provide documentation that the money was used for qualifying expenses — most notably 75 percent of the funds must be used for employee payroll. (Visit www.sba.org to learn more.)
The PPP went live April 3, and by April 16, the fund was exhausted.
While Carbondale banks await the next round of PPP funding — estimated to be $300 billion — they are encouraging small business owners, nonprofit organizations, and independent contractors to get ready.
Additionally, each bank has suggested that general banking customers take advantage of the many COVID-19 financial relief programs being offered right now.
After processing well over 10 times their normal monthly amount in just 14 days, Alpine Bank rolled out the Payment Deferral Program for eligible accounts, according to Regional President Ian Bays.
For credit card accounts, customers can defer payments due between May 27 and July 25. The accounts will not be considered late or reported to the credit bureau, but interest will continue to accrue on the unpaid balance.
At the end of the period, a minimum payment — plus any additional fees and interest — will be due.
Alpine Bank is also offering a loan deferment program where customers can defer their loan for up to 90 days and pay back through the term of their loan.
If the loan matures before the 90 day time frame, Bays suggested that customers contact their loan officers to rewrite the loan to create some flexibility.
“There’s no one size fits all plan for finances. We’re going to try and help [customers] in the best way possible,” Bays said. “We want to find a way that truly helps them whether that’s a deferment or interest rate change.”
Within 72 hours, FirstBank processed over 15,000 PPP applications company-wide and are ready for the next round, according to Roaring Fork Market President David Portman.
For the second installment, Portman suggested that small business owners prepare their applications now in order to be included. If for some reason they miss this round, Portman said businesses can call FirstBank to learn about other government sponsored small business programs.
For loan and credit card accounts, FirstBank initiated the Customer Relief Program.
Loan holders have the option to defer up to three installments of a residential mortgage loan, home equity installment loan, and consumer installment loan. Payments would renew on the fourth installment, and the loan is paid back over the life of the loan.
Regarding credit card accounts, FirstBank is offering 0 percent interest rates for one month. Customers will continue to pay a minimum monthly payment, but the money is allocated to the principal amount.
Notably, FirstBank employees have received a remarkable amount of COVID-19 support.
According to Portman, FirstBank has an Emergency Sick Leave Policy for employees who are infected, at-risk, caring for someone who is at-risk, or unable to work due to school/daycare closures. This includes a full paid leave for up to two weeks with an extension option.
Employees also received a $2 per hour pay increase, waived copays for telemedicine appointments, and extensive HR support for coping during the pandemic.
ANB Bank has lent $250 million regionally through the PPP loan, and consequently, has saved a significant amount of jobs, Bank President Tony Spires said.
Currently, ANB is still accepting PPP applications, and will begin processing once the next round of funding begins.
To support general customers, ANB created a Loan Deferral Program.
Specifically, all consumer and commercial term loans that require a monthly and principal and interest payment may defer up to three months of payments.
For interest only and short term loan customers, ANB is reducing the prime borrowing rate and temporarily dropping interest rate floors through Dec. 31 to help lower interest rates.
ANB stresses that there is no requirement to prove need or impact to receive these benefits.
With community outreach already implemented into ANB’s culture, Spires said they will continue to do as much as possible to help the community navigate these challenging financial times.
At this time, Wells Fargo is offering its customers mortgage and home equity account support through a loan forbearance for three months.
When the short-term suspension period ends, customers may choose to continue suspending the loan for up to six months, pay back in one lump sum, apply for a deferment, create a loan repayment plan, or refinance the loan.
For general banking customers, Wells Fargo suggested customers call their branch to discuss options for fee waivers, credit card assistance, and payment deferrals.
Rent and mortgage assistance available now!
Coloradans that are facing financial difficulties due to COVID-19, can apply for rent and mortgage assistance with money allocated from Colorado’s Disaster Emergency Fund.
To qualify, households must have earned less than 50 percent AMI before March 11.
Households in Garfield County can contact Catholic Charities at 384-2060 or connect with statewide sponsors Salvation Army (855-768-7977) and Brother Redevelopment (844-926-6632).
Visit /cdola.colorado.gov/housing-covid19 to learn more or call the Division of Housing at 303-864-7852. Additional resources may also be available through 211 (211colorado.org).